Bobcats As Pets | Can You Have a Pet Bobcat


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Wild animals are just that, they are wild. However, some people rescue wild animals and raise them and others keep exotic animals as pets. In this guide, we’re going to go over the ins and outs of bobcats as pets.

Bobcats make a difficult pet because they are wild animals. To rescue or keep a bobcat as a pet you will need to consider some things such as a special full prey model diet, as well as the correct housing for them. Handling them can also be hard since they will scratch you and tear up just about anything.

Exotic pets are an area that some people disagree with. We’ve made this guide because we know that some will keep them as pets anyway. There is a lot of responsibility that comes along with raising an exotic pet, so just know that it is not a walk in the park.

You will have to build a special enclosure for them, have room outside in a yard, and stick to a strictly raw meat diet that can be pricy. If you do not have the time and resources to properly care for an exotic pet like a pet bobcat, then you may want to reconsider.

“Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.”

– Miguel de Cervantes (author, Don Quixote)

Can You Legally Own a Bobcat?

Five Strange Pets You Can Legally O...
Five Strange Pets You Can Legally Own

Bobcats are considered exotic pets. Owning one legally is something that will vary depending on where you live. Even if a state allows you to own a bobcat as a pet, there still may be local laws that prohibit it. Just like with some breeds of dogs, city ordinances and local laws can ban certain animals and exotics.

Sometimes there may be special rules if you are rehabilitating a bobcat. This may mean that they can only live with you for a certain amount of time before you have to release them to an animal sanctuary, or there may be special rules for what kind of housing and home you have for them.

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Bobcats as pets – State law map. Source.

Bobcats Pet Legal States

Some states in the U.S. do allow bobcats as pets. However, as mentioned, you should still look into local laws and regulations to make sure that there are no other provisions or rules against them.

States that allow bobcats as pets with no permits:

  • Alabama
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Wisconsin

States that allow bobcats with permits and or registration:

  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Some states will let you own a bobcat freely with no regulations, and others will require permits or registration. Before you consider buying, owning, or rescuing a bobcat, make sure you check both your state and local laws beforehand.

Are Bobcats Friendly to Humans?

Bobcats are wild animals. This means that they may be able to be both friendly and dangerous. When an animal is tamed it is not fully domesticated. Tamed animals can be difficult at times. Their wild nature can strike at any moment, causing injuries or damage to property.

The responsibility is on you, to make sure they are properly housed, in a yard that is fortified. If your pet bobcat escapes and then kills a house pet or injures a person, then you may be liable for those damages.

See our article for Are Bobcats Dangerous here.

Can You Buy a Bobcat as a Pet?

Bobcats can be bought and sold in certain states. If you live in a state that allows it you will want to make sure that the breeder you are purchasing from has all of the correct paperwork and history.

When owning and taming a wild animal, it is best to obtain them when they are still a baby. This makes it easier for the bonding process. If you can bond with a bobcat, then they will be much more likely to be well mannered (but not always, they are still wild.) For this reason, you should try to get the bobcat when they are still a kitten.

How Much Does a Pet Bobcat Cost?

Exotic animals can be very pricy. You are going to pay many times more than a domestic cat. If you are buying a pet bobcat you should expect to pay anywhere from $900 to $2500. The price could be a little less, or even a little bit more. Source.

You also need to factor in the cost of housing and food. The housing for a pet bobcat needs to be fortified, this means that if you are going to have an enclosure in your backyard, it needs to be fenced off.

The fence needs to be buried into the ground so they can not dig and escape. It should also have a roof, so they cannot climb out. This type of enclosure is going to set you back $500 – $1,000.

Food is probably the biggest cost, when owning an exotic pet like a pet bobcat. Their diet needs to be a full prey model diet/a raw meat diet. This can be very pricy. The meat needs to include the correct ratio of meat, tendons, and organs. For this, you are going to need a specially regulated diet. We suggest talking to an exotic pet veterinarian who has experience with bobcats.

Your veterinarian bills will also be more expensive since you are dealing with an exotic animal, that will need specialized care.

Can You Domesticate a Baby Bobcat?

When you get a bobcat kitten, you have the chance to imprint on them and create a bond. However, this is different from domestication. Domestication happens over a long evolution of living with humans. To this date, bobcats are not domesticated.

Rather your kitten will become tamed. Tamed does not mean domestication, as the animal is still a wild animal. This means they will bond with you, but their wild instincts can kick in at any moment, which can result in injuries and damages to property. Source.

Raising Bobcats as Pets

So now that you know the legalities and the resources you will need, let’s talk about actually raising a bobcat as a pet. You are going to have to come to terms with the fact that many extra responsibilities come with owning a pet bobcat.

These are not house cats that can be left on their own with no supervision. You will need to spend a lot of time with your bobcat, time to bond, time to give them attention, and time to clean up after them.

Let’s look at some more of those responsibilities.

You have to have them secured with correct housing. If you just let your pet bobcat wander around your home without having some type of enclosure, you risk them harming someone, and without the proper outside enclosure, you risk them getting out and harming someone else.

You have to feed them the correct type of diet. You are going to need to look into a full prey model diet. These diets use a formulated ratio of meats, tendons, and organs. You will probably need to contact a veterinarian to find out the exact diet ratios.

You need to find a veterinarian that has a history with bobcats. Your bobcat will need special attention when it comes to health. You cannot take them to a run-of-the-mill veterinarian, they need to be an exotic pet veterinarian, and on top of that, they need to have some experience with bobcats.

See our article for What do Bobcats Eat here.

2 Bobcats are kept as pets.

Are Bobcats Aggressive?

Bobcats are more aggressive than domesticated cats. This is because even as pets, they are essentially still wild animals. Tame animals, which are wild animals who have been raised by humans, still have wild instincts. They are going to be aggressive, they are going to bite, scratch, hiss, and be very difficult to hold.

The more time you take to bond with your pet bobcat, the more they will learn to be calm around you. You will need to let them know when playing with them if they are getting too aggressive.

Why Are Bobcats Bad Pets?

If you were to ask me, do bobcats make good pets? I would have to answer absolutely not. They are too wild, and too hard to take care of. Anyone who thinks owning an exotic pet like bobcats will be easy is not meant to have this type of animal. Source on exotic pets.

Money is also an issue. Even if you come up with the funds to buy a pet bobcat, you will still need to be able to afford the housing, the food, the vet bills, and more. You will also get a lot of scratches and maybe even some trips to the emergency room, no matter how tame they are.

Learn more about bobcats here

Related Questions

Do bobcats make good house pets?

Bobcats do not make good house pets. Inside a home, a bobcat will most likely tear up furniture, scratch walls, and poop/pee on just about everything. It is in their nature to mark territory.

Will bobcats attack dogs? If the bobcat is raised from a kitten to be around other pets, there will be less of a chance of it attacking, however, they are still wild animals and that wild nature could cause them to attack a dog, a pet dog, or other household pets.

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an outdoorsman who loves spending time in nature, working on ranches in Texas, and observing wildlife.

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